F&%king Natz

Ah nationals the the real chance at eternal glory on the elite cycling scene. Win once and you will forever be able to get customized jerseys with the stars and bars around your sleeves, doesn’t matter what category. If you’re the cynical type you could turn up your nose at the national champ stripes for not being in the ‘Pro’ category, but deep down we all want them.

Let me start off that I’m no good in extreme heat/humid conditions. I had a sneaking suspicion about this weakness for the past few years but it became painfully obvious last year when I was living in South Carolina. During daytime races I’d feel bad, like after one attack I was done kind of bad. If the race was a hot road race I could hang on fine, but if I tried to ride aggressively I’d get dropped harder than Andy Schleck in a Non-Tour de France race. Then I’d show up to a night crit and tear things up

Nationals the past two years had been in Augusta Georgia. Not a particularly difficult course, but guaranteed to be smoking hot. So going into it I didn’t really have high hopes (or any), but it was a team priority race and I theoretically should have been on good form from NVGP.

Oh how wrong I was. Don’t think my pessimism meant I was defeating myself. I did everything I could to prepare for the heat. For the past month I’ve been riding to and from work in long sleeve jersey’s to try to acclimate to the heat annoying my co-workers with incredibly sweaty cycling gear sitting in my bag at my Cube.

It was no use. I felt ok for the start of the race but as the pace picked up towards the end I just died I slow painful death. I did everything I could. I got a neutural feed EVERY single lap and and ice sock EVERY time (that’s 6 Ice socks + about 4 bottles from our feeder and an additional probably 6 neutral bottles in addition to the 3 I started with). None of it helped. When we hit the final climb the last lap I had about 30 seconds of go then blew up HARD. I was in the field with 1 km to go, but in that last k managed to lose 2 minutes on the field.

The race itself animated pretty much how I expected it to. With only elite teams allowed to compete no team seemed particularly big enough or strong enough to organize. A breakaway formed early on with 6 riders and never got more than 2 minutes. As the race wore on random guys would bridge the 2 minute gap and the break eventually ballooned to 22 guys, still inside 2 minutes. Global Bike and Elbowz racing were the only teams willing to put guys on the front to chase. With two laps to go actual attacks started shooting off the front. But the power in the field was too much and too dispersed to allow the field to break up. The breakaway was within striking distance all last lap but never quite seemed to get brought back. A few serious large groups got off the front mostly at the coaxing of Elbowz Eric Marcotte, but they would inevitably be brought back by dreams of red white and blue shirt sleeves. Eventually one rider from the breakaway succeeded in staying away with the rest of the finishers coming from the field (I think this is exactly how last year’s edition turned out).

Oh well, if only it had rained…

Next up is the Hyde Park Blast weekend…should be a different story I’m singing next week.

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The Ups and Downs at Nature Valley

This year’s schedule for me has been nearly a mirror image as my 2010 season with the notable exception of Battenkill earlier in the year. Based on all the other racing I’ve done this year compared to 2010 (Joe Martin, Quad Cities, etc) I had decided to take off and head out to Nature Valley to really put my form to the test.

As racers we usually refer to Nature Valley as a crit stage race, which was made even more true this year by the total cancellation of the Cannon Falls Road Race (I raced 20 miles of it in 2010 before it was Tornado-ed out). We were sending a smaller squad than last time with only 4 riders, however the notable lack of UHC from the peleton and a team cap of only 6 riders as opposed to the usual 8 meant the race was much more open.

The first day of racing consisted of a morning time trial and evening crit. TT’s are never really my thing but NVGP does it right and outlaws TT bikes in favor of mass start bikes. This really levels the playing field for us Amateurs who don’t have full support and extra bikes up the wazoo. This alone made me a little more inclined to try hard in the TT. I’ve also been doing these “threshold workouts” that apparently make make time trails end faster…or so I hear. The TT course was just a 7.7 mile ordeal on a parkway running along the Mississippi. I finished 72nd which put me smack dab in the middle of the 142 man field, a pretty solid result as far as I’m concerned.

The nights’ crit was in Downtown St. Paul in the ritzy theater district (I think). As with any NRC race, especially the biggest non-UCI event in the country, the crits start out blazing fast. With Tom Zirbel in the yellow jersey Kelly Benefits didn’t even wait for attacks to take up the pace setting reins for the day. This seemed a little odd and it immediately back fired on them with John Murphy from Kenda taking several time bonus sprints and the Yellow Jersey. Because Kelly was just chilling on the front the entire time not too many attacks went and I even reached for some glory attacking solo off the front for 3 laps. I got a 20 second lead right away and was hoping they’d leave me out to dry a bit so I could bask in my “no-TV present TV time glory”. Unfortunately I was brought back and returned to the business of fighting wheels. Thinking back to 2010 though I was definitely riding better, at the front, able to move into top 10 positions (aka being able to see the front of the field). Last time, every crit, I was stuck in the tail gun vortex of continuously trying to move up and burning matches while being passed by every other dude trying to do the same, all the while closing gaps of guys blowing up. There is no easy place to sit past 20th wheel in an NRC crit.

The cannon falls road race was canceled the next day due to some pretty nasty weather. We were bummed since it was looking to be a tough day with 20+ mph winds and what not. So instead we spent the day with Kenda defending their leaders jersey in a bakery on Main Street.

After a good little rest day mid-stage race every was pretty antsy and fresh going into the UpTown Minneapolis Crit. The Uptown crit is a relatively straight forward crit, 6 corners, TONS of spectators and fast. I mean really fast. I got a mediocre starting spot and from the gun it was pretty obvious that everyone was fresh. Kenda was having a difficult time controlling the race from the looks of it. A dangerous breakaway got off the front with last years winner: Jesse Anthony from Optimum (looking for some revenge after loosing the yellow Wednesday).

My own race was going ok for a few laps until I clipped a pedal in the last corner which was super lumpy. This combined with a large bump in the pavement caused some serious rear wheel air-ing. When my wheel came down it ripped the tubular off the rim. This is the point where people usually crash. By some act of God or amazing handling skills on my part I managed to stay on the rim while cornering at about 25 mph. I actually held it upright for a while drifting out the rear wheel on the rim for some time before I lost enough momentum and my wheel went out. Once on the ground I was facing the charging peleton and had to watch in horror as every rider in the field came around the last corner single file, crapped their pants at me sitting in the middle of the road, then correct their line.

After a trip to the pit I hopped back into the race. I spent some serious energy getting back to the front of the race. I made it up to the top fourth of the field where Kenda was in all out chase mode to get the breakaway. This meant full gas for the rest of the race. There was no moving up from that point onward just full gas till the finish.

I mean fast, my Normalized Power for the crit was 410 watts. That’s also 309 watts average with zeros for the entire race. I’m not that keen on actual power numbers since they kinda mean different things for different people but for me that’s like….DAMN.

Ok on to the Queen stage in Menomonie. On tap was a super hilly day with a wide open GC. Of course the rain was rolling in just as we started the 100 mile race. In 2010 I was keen on getting in the “early breakaway” little did I know things didn’t quite operate like that so I spent a lot of matches following stupid attacks before the first decisive KOM that finally caused the breakaway to split off (wow a decisive part of the course causing a breakaway? it’s almost like NRC racing is just like any other race). I learned my lesson I thought.

I stayed put the first part of the race…which was FAST. I made it through the first hour and a half keeping things calm and staying up front. We hit the second KOM which was the first big climb and shit got cra (as yeezy would say).  I don’t think I’ve ever gone harder on my bike than that period of time. Anyone who thinks they can ride harder in training than racing is full of it. My arms were cramping up from pulling on the bars so hard during the climb (along with everything else in a state of total pain)…and this was only the first KOM.
I thought that I had made it past the hard part of the race and went on the attack to bridge up to a 10-ish man group that was looking really promising. This turned out to be my un-doing. I was making up some ground, but so was the field on me. I got brought back just as I saw the sign for 1 km to KOM…uh oh.

I blew up hard, looking at my power file I was doing less than 200 watts at the top of the climb. By the time I had recovered enough to actually chase I was solidly in the groupetto. We gave some chase and kept the field in sight for a number of miles but it was no use. Since there was no clear leader the racing up front was still fast and aggressive. Ryan A and I made it into the circuits just in time to see the field, which was about 30 riders at that point, round the last corner with 3 laps to go. We lost 20 minutes.

On to the final day of racing. Stillwater was definitely one of my favorite crits. The Chillkot hill which defines the race is a super steep pitch up to the finishing line that has a solid wall of fans. For 30 seconds every race you really feel like you’re riding in Le Tour swerving through hoards of screaming fans. With my GC time totally shot from the day before I was planning on doing some breaking away for the day. My hopes for this plan were dashed when dudes started lining up for the start 30 MINUTES before the race got underway. Let me be clear, people don’t line up this early for any other crit (even other NVGP crits which are a hell of a lot harder to move up on than Stillwater). So I rolled around a bit and started DFL (Dead —- Last), along with some other hitters like Marcotte, Dominguez, J-Pow…etc. The gun went off and within 3 laps I had made it to the top 20 riders (mission accomplished).

By that point all 3 Panthers were riding up there and a move with Olheiser from Competitive Cyclist was off the front, we had the same presenting sponsor so I figured that was close enough of a teammate and decided to sit in.

The laps wore on and eventually with 5 or 6 to go it started to rain, not bad at first but things really started to come down. I may not be the strongest rider in the field but one thing I can do well is ride fast in the rain (In my rainy glory I once lapped a collegiate field that contained Rob Bush and Adam Leibovitz solo by out-cornering everyone).

When the lap counter read 2 to go the field was pretty small and it was clear Kelly was just defending their lead…plus it was pouring. Once we got onto the second climb of the course I went on the attack hoping to stick it to the Pro teams if nothing else (you get tired of being shoved off wheels for a week for not wearing a Pro jersey). I put in a good 30 second dig to get over the climb and onto the descent. Looking back I saw only Tyler Wren from Jamis behind me then a whole lotta space…surely this wouldn’t last. I flicked my elbow for some help but all I got was “I need to recover” (I can’t hate too much though he was off the front a fair amount earlier plus gave me a shout-out in NVGP race report). I thought I could only benefit by burying myself so I did and took the last lap up Chillkot hill full gas in the big ring.

Literally a wall of sound here, one of the coolest experiences I’ve had on a bike.

Finishing Climb: order soon to be reversed

Over the top of the climb I was starting to hurt, but we amazingly had a HUGE gap. Wren attacked me on the back side of the courese. I looked back to see where I was relative to the field. Of all the pro teams out there I saw not one but TWO Elbowz guys coming up fast. I let off the gas just a bit until they passed by and I jumped onto their wheel. Wren was still only a few seconds off the front, with Marcotte leading Helmeg down the hill followed by me.

I had a good wheel to follow but got gapped a little when I downshifted to my little ring. I had a front row seat to watch both Helmeg and Marcotte pass Wren to go 1-2. I struggled pretty hard to make it onto the podium but but didn’t quite have the legs and finished a few meters back.

Behind Ryan A also placed in the top ten at 7th, not too bad for an amateur team out of Ohio.

Overall I’m super happy with how it went. Sure I might have sat in for a lap longer and MAYBE would’ve done better, but being off the front in the last few laps of the of the biggest non-UCI race in the US is pretty damn cool, 4th place to boot ain’t bad either.

A good set of photos from the NVGP where I lifted most of mine from.

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Tour of Champaign Urbana 2012

SpeedWeek was originally on my calendar for this past weekend. It’d be a good trip back down to my favorite cycling city of Greenville, SC. However after the solid ass kicking we all recieved at Joe Martin, we needed an easier set of races to recoup our legs and egos. From the looks of all the crap that went on at SpeedWeek, it’s most likely a good thing we skipped things down there.

The Tour of Champaign – Urbana crits have always been a little on the rough side for us. The first year I participated it was the first weekend of superweek with a bunch of P-R-O ringers in attendance. Two years ago I got tag teamed by the now defunct Verizon team for 3rd on Saturday and pretty much suffered heat stroke Sunday after doing a team time trial breakaway with Ryan Knapp one lap into the race (last year I was in Greenville).

Slingshot Engaged

So even though we were the strongest team on paper, I was still a little unsure about our prospects. Thankfully my worries turned out to be pretty unfounded. Saturday returned to the traditional 4 corner flat wide open campus crit. Things played out exactly how you’d expect such a course to play out, nothing got more than a 10 second advantage. Going into the closing laps Aitchenson and I were arguing about who felt crappier and would sprint. I eventually won, pulling seniority and American-ness and lead him out for the sprint, which turend out pretty well since he won.

On a side note, there is much more rest time required from a 4 day stage race than I anticipated. I definately didn’t take it easy this past week and was feeling it in my cement like legs. Lesson learned on to the next race.

Sunday’s course shifted from campus to downtown Urbana for a tight 8 corner 1 km crit. Being super technical we knew it wouldn’t end up like Saturday’s race so the plan was to wait until things were starting to get a little broken up then attack hoping one of the other “Diesel” type riders would join up with us. Things went pretty much according to plan except for the waiting part. After only a handful of laps I attacked a smallish group that had seperated itself from the front of the race ( I actually didn’t know we had broken away before the attack, and just thought things were strung out). Turned out to be the right move since Jonathan Jacobs joined me shortly afterwards and we put in some good efforts to build up a good gap. In case you don’t know JJ is the Elite time trial champion and I am just about the worst Cat 1 time trialist on earth. I put in some good work early on but quickly, um, started to suck. Here’s a power plot from the race, I’ve smoothinged the data a bit so you can get an idea of my general trend of suckieness.

By 15 or so laps to go (around 20 minutes left in the race) I was seriously hurting. I was doing my own threshold to stay on JJ’s wheel and we’d go about 5 mph slower every time I’d pull through then have a pretty hard time getting back on the wheel. The 90 degree heat and humidity (the first hot race of the season) also amplified my deteriorating ability to ride fast. Knowing the rest of the team behind was putting in work to cover attacks and keep things locked down I decided to sit on to try and recover a bit. I also heard over the speaker that another Panther rider was chasing in a 2 man group at 20 odd seconds behind us (we were also 20-30 seconds off lapping the field, but small group sprints are kinda my thing and I didn’t want to be involved in any last lap nonsense).

With some 4 odd laps I tried my hand at pulling through again with some pretty painful results.

JJ attacked on the back side of the course just as I pulled off but I was able to catch his wheel. As we came onto the finishing straight I jumped and took the Win.

Behind Ryan A outkicked Enzo’s Nick Ramirez for 3rd place (it’s so nice having a bunch of quick finishers on the team).

All in all it was a pretty satisfying weekend, it was a great team effort both Saturday and Sunday to take 3 of 6 podium spots. We really had our team’s tactics nailed down for these regional races and I’m looking foreward to the rest of the summer.

Thanks to Mark Swartzendruber for putting on a good race and getting us set up with some awesome hosts for the weekend.

For now it’s going to be a pretty easy week of recovery for Tour de Grove in St. Louis next weekend (which has a STACKED field).

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Joe Martin Stage Race

Joe Martin was the second big test of the team for the year after mid-April’s Tour of the Battenkill. I had previously competed in the race in 2010 and was pretty excited to measure my progress as a rider since then. 
The highlight of the trip though happened before the racing even got under way. Former Panther rider (2010) and Arkansas local, Kris French, got in contact with the team about guest riding and put us in touch with the Hazel Valley Ranch for host housing. This place has to have been the best host housing experience we’ve ever had. That’s saying something, we’ve been very fortunate as a team to have some great people open up their homes to us so we can race. Not only was the housing itself super nice:

(After the TT we were feeling pretty perky and took a ride on some Gators). 

(The ranch had 4 Buffalo!)

But he people who operated the ranch were super hospitable. Needless to say it was a vacation
(staying slammed in Arkansas)

On to the racing…
Stage 1 of JMSR is always a 2.4 mile uphill time trial. I’m personally familiar with the climb out of the west side of Devil’s Den State Park from many spring breaks spent with the Purdue Cycling Club in Mountainburg AR. Unfortunately that did not make things any easier when riding uphill. My own time was a full 15 seconds slower than in 2010. I’m going to go ahead and chaulk up the poor performance to lack of rest from a hectic week of work before and travel before the race since the rest of the race went much better.
We woke Friday morning to 25 mph winds and we knew that’d be the defining factor in the race. Paco Mancebo of our big brother team Competitive Cyclist (ok maybe more like brother from another mother that never talks to you) had the lead from the TT and had tempo setting duty. The first half of the race was relatively tame, 2 riders getting off the front. As we tacked into the headwind with CC at the helm , most of the riders were getting the easiest ride of the year (try 170 watt average for the first 2 hours). However once we turned east into a cross wind the race was actually on. Kelly Benefits started throwing it down. After a short cross wind section along twisty roads we turned back north towards Fayetteville on 71 and things got really hard. Kelly continued to throw down the gauntlet, guttering the entire field into the far left shoulder. As we were tucked in chewing our handlebars, I managed to peak a few times up the pack and started to see the CC team being worn thin. After setting tempo for 2 hours into a headwind they we’re gassed and Mancebo was totally exposed. We started the decisive climb up Mt. Gaylor in a state of total oxygen depletion and I though things would seriously split. I was only partly right, the attacks continued to fly up Gaylor, and the burden of chasing things down fell to Mancebo himself. Had he not possessed some inhuman strength to chase down every single attack he would have lost the lead. Incredibly everytime I looked up the road for some sign of downhill relief I saw teammate Andy Seitz following the attacks of the pure mountain goats.

As we descended the back side of Gaylor back into town the field had really split into 3 distinct groups but eventually came back together on the gradual downhill run into the finish. With a false flat downhill and massive tailwind running into Fayetteville, the last hour of the race was unbelievably fast (averaging almost 34 mph). Most of the time was spent single file on the 4 lane highway. With 5 k to go a curb jutted out as we were riding the gutter. With guys in the red and heads down a crash was inevitable, a rider swerved to avoid the curb and took our Seitz at about 40 mph. A few wheels back Ryan A and I narrowly avoided the wreck and sprinted back onto the pack. I actually managed to get into the last turn before the finishing climbs in like 20th wheel but was totally blown by the positioning effort and finished 41st.

We were all hurting but Saturday was another harder and longer day in the saddle. With 4 loops of 22 miles plus an out and back the total on the day was slated for 114 miles. Normally in these races a rhythm settles in, but teams were not content to let Mancebo walk away with the win. A group large group got away on the first lap, but the CC team, weakened by Fridays hard stage, was unable to control the race. Attacks we’re pretty much going away the entire race, the only thing holding the field together were guys fearing they’d miss the decisive move. I’d say only the second lap was really tame, the rest of the laps were a constant flurry of attacks. We did eventually bring the breakaway back just as we made the turn off the loops towards the finish. I had recovered pretty well from the climbs and was feeling good for the finish and finding my positioning skills significantly improved from the 2010 edition. Ryan A, the only other teammate left in the field took to a two man flyer with 10 k to go and stayed away until only a handful of kilometers remained. I managed to put myself a few wheels behind the Bissell train with 2 k to go, which turned out to be a bad idea since they all crashed. A rider at the front of their train looked left breifly to check on some swarming riders and drifted ever so slightly causing the entire train to cross wheels.

I narrowly avoided some flying bikes and bodies, when I regained my composure I saw a group of 20 riders only 50 meters ahead. Total anarchy ensued, every pro team’s lead out had been compromised. Elbowz was the only team to make it through the chaos with the majority of their riders and capitalized, leading out their man Eric Marcotte for the win. I managed to weave my way into the top ten for 8th place on the stage.

(Power during the crash and then sprint)

The final stage was a very difficult crit course. Usually most amateur riders shoot for the half way point of the race as that’s how long you have to make it in order to not get time cut. This was again my goal since I was pretty unsure about my form. I managed a 2nd row starting spot and settled in for some suffering. The hill wasn’t so tough the first few trips up, but as the laps clicked off I either started getting more tired, or we started going faster. However we hot to and passed the halfway point and I was still there. By the last 3 laps there was no strategy just hanging on. Since this was my first big crit of the season I was a little rusty on my positioning skills. On the last lap I had dreams of glory but was still 30 wheels down and decided to move up on the descent (bad idea). I burned the last match I had moving up a whole 5 wheels and was pretty gassed for the last trip up the hill losing a fair amount of spots for 32nd spot.

Overall I finished 5 seconds outside of the last money spot of 40th place. I don’t know how I finished in 2010 overall, but I know it was a hell of a lot more than 2 minutes off the winners time. I came away from the race with a big boost confidence on my form. I started a little slow and un-rested but got fast by the end of the week. The team rode really well too. Hopefully Andy heals up quickly and can return to the good form he had on Friday. This race should also produce some good fitness for the rest of the May’s races.

Next up Tour of C-U.

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The Little 500

I was a little tardy getting the Battenkill race report out, between getting back from the race at 9am Monday recovery and a pretty hectic week at work, it’s been a little tough to get to the blog but I went to spectate the Little 500 last weekend and felt like a good post was in order.

I feel that people fall into three categories when it comes to their opinions about the Little 500: those who don’t know what it is (or maybe vaguely will remember it as that thing from the movie “Breaking Away”), those who go to Indiana University and love it, or those who race bikes in the Midwest and have a pretty vague disdain for it. As a Purdue graduate I definitely fell into the 3rd category, for some good reasons. First obviously we dislike anything related to IU, but also as a MidWest racer you come to learn to stay the F away from anyone labeled a “Little Fiver”. They’re usually cat 4 or 5 guys who are in no way whatsoever afraid of hitting the deck. They race on a dirt track with coaster brakes; how can they fit into our sport where everything is made from carbon fiber and riders perfect their bike positoin in wind tunnels?

Lance Armstrong said that the Little 500 was a better event than the Super Bowl. This comparison might be a bit overkill, but I can now say I see were he was coming from. While it certainly could never compare to the grandiosity of any World Class sporting event, the small intimate atmosphere is exactly what makes it such a great event.

Panther teammate Ryan Knapp along with the women’s team he coaches acted as a bit of tour guides for the event. After a quick morning ride with some other 500 alums, we went tailgating…for a bike race (first instance of mind being blown). At the tailgate we met plenty of folks our age and older who had all raced or had some connection to the race from back in their day.

We headed towards the stadium and the atmosphere was more like that of a college football day than any bike race I’d ever been to. We passed mobs of fraternity brothers all in their drunken good form to support their teams (most of the teams are from the houses). The crowd was more electric than even any college football game I’d been to.

As we took our seats in the grand stands (yes 20,000 spectators, mind blown for the umpteenth time) I literally couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. we watched the parachuters and numerous a capella groups sing the school fight song before the race was finally under way. Once started the race was total chaos. Ryan and his teammates had to enlighten us about every 10 seconds as to what the hell was going on.

33 teams of four would relay race for 50 miles (200 laps around the cinder track). Teams would have to relay each other into the race, think handing off a baton, except the baton is a 30 lb Schwinn. However in order to relay smoothly, teams would “Burn Out”, or attack so that when they did exchange they would be able to jump right back into the field. Exchanges hardly were ever so easy, the top 5-10 teams seemed well practiced and were able to swap riders while hardly losing contact with the field. However, for most of the teams the swaps were a hair raising experience. Bikes would be literally flying through the air as riders would skid the coaster brakes to a stop before the next rider would sprint up to speed and jump back onto the bike. The complicated process itself caused a good number of crashes in addition to the normal bike race crashes, tangled wheels, sliding out, etc. In fact the most decisive events of the race were dictated by crashes. The entire race is on Youtube, if you skip to 2:18:30 into the video you can see the crash that really decided the race.

The cutters (5 year defending champions) crashed out and caused a field split that decided the race.

As the race came to a close the winning fraternity Delta Tau Delta, seated in the stands opposite from us was starting to lose their shit. After the race wrapped up the frat mobbed the field in full red jumpsuit garb (well one guy was in a panda costume). As we started filtering out of the stands it started to dawn on me that really what makes this race special isn’t the competition, it’s how intimate the race is. No one outside IU knows that Delta Tau Delta beating the cutters is a huge upset, and probably only a few midwestern races know the Delta finishing rider, but no one in the stadium seems to mind. There are no multi-million dollar athletes, or foreign stars that fly in to dominate the event. There are no scholarships where athletes are only at college to get noticed by a professional team, the racers are Cat 3’s at best. All the competitors are just students, people that everyone know and go to class with: they’re true local hero’s.

Not to say the race doesn’t produce talent, two recent National Criterium champions: Rahsaan Bahati and Eric Young were both Little 5-er’s and many more have gone pro. However even the most well known varsity cycling programs can’t lay claim to actually developing as many great cyclists as many of their riders are already Junior super stars when they start college (ok Bahati’s probably a bad example of this). This is a product of very strict eligibility rules for the competition. Many people know there’s no fancy carbon, but in addition riders cannot be riding in a USCF category higher than 3 for more than one year, and being a P-R-O is strictly forbidden.

Cyclist are a pretty fickle group and will always stick up their noses at something so off base as the Little 500, but until you make the trek to Bloomington late fall along with hundreds of other Little 500 Alumni it’s pretty hard to understand what everyone gets so worked up about. Trust me though, there are plenty of race weekends in the summer ahead, skip a few to go to this event.

That’s enough gushing from this Boilermaker

On to Joe Martin next weekend.

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